Artisan. Vegan. Cheese…Yes!! check out those words sitting up against each other. Is that music I hear?! To my ears, Ms Miyoko Schinner. To my ears.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. Written by long time vegan Miyoko. Cook and founder of Artisan Vegan Life It is squashed full of cheese alchemy. The book is sectioned into styles of cheese.
- artisan & aged
- almost instant
- air dried
- sauces & fondue
The back of the book hosts recipes in which to showcase your creations. I am yearning to get all experimental in the A Vegan Obsession kitchen but, alas, my house is full of plaster dust. Building work and an impending trip are hampering the experimental kitchen right now, but I did manage to have a blast at the nut parmesan powder and the sharp cheddar.
It is a fascinating read, discovering just what ingredients make a beloved cheese. Not all recipes are allergy friendly, though they are certainly fantastic for the lactose intolerant (some soy is used in certain recipes). A good deal of the recipes (the ‘hard’ cheeses) require thickening agents – agar, carageenan (irish moss). Miyoko breaks it all down and helps to make you realise that cheese is bascially protein and fat. Who needs animal milk?!
It is has some surprises too. Did you know oil is the secret ingredient to make cheese all melty? Although some of the recipes are practically instant, mostly patience is required. It’s cheese. Cheese takes time. Some recipes take mere days, others take weeks…..usually the hard ones. Though ‘hard’ doesn’t necessarily mean they be as dense as their dairy counterparts.
Equipment needed to execute the recipes are discussed in the book too, to make sure when cheese making fever strikes, you are good to go. Most you’ll have in your kitchen. The use of a cheese press is aparantely invaluable to produce a more traditional ‘hard’ cheese. The only other bit of equipment you may need to fork out for is a blender. Actually I second (and third) that…a blender is highly recommended. My blender is still unmaterialised and gathering dust on my ‘wish list’, (alongside the book deal and the man). So, I’ve decided to give the delivery of hitherto mentioned blender a deadline to have it sitting on my countertop for summer 2013! Meantime, the processor works ok, but can tend towards resulting grittiness. Or to be more poetic..a tad coarse.
Rejuvelac, a culturing agent made from water and a grain such as rice or millet and/or non dairy yogurt, get the good bacteria to work, imparting that cheesy flavour. One of my attempts was with non-dairy kefir, so not so sure it hit the right spot. I’ll try with rejuvelac next. It is simple to make.
Results: My sharp cheddar came out a little piquant and, without the use of a cheese press, firm. Tasty though, but not as I recall mature cheddar, and definitely not much of a slicing challenge to my cheese knife. The nut parmesan was lovely.
Once I’m back in AVO headquarters and those dust-making builders have packed up their tools and walked into the sunset I’ll be making my way through these recipes for sure.
Thanks to The Book Publishing Co. for bringing us another great vegan recipe book and Randol White from Eat Drink Explore for agreeing for us to post his video interview with Miyoko.
A doorstep of Raw almond bread, a mighty wedge of sharp cheddar, a slice of sweet red apple, topped with a hearty spoon of carrot mayonnaise. Yes, carrot mayonnaise! Want it?? I’ll be posting the recipe tomorrow.
Watch out for it.